Golf’s calendar has been decimated by the novel coronavirus outbreak, with three of the sport’s four majors rescheduled and the British Open cancelled.

The biennial Ryder Cup competition between the United States and Europe is scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin and fans are unlikely to be able to attend if it goes ahead.

“This event is made by the fans. If it was without fans, it almost would be a yawner of an event,” Stricker told Golf Affect Radio. “To cheat out the Wisconsin fans would be a crime. I hope when we do have it, it can be up to its full potential. [1]

Tommy Fleetwood celebrates Europe’s 2018 win with fans. PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

With the PGA Tour restarting its schedule next week without fans for the first five events, the PGA of America continues to assess different scenarios for the matches, which are scheduled to be played in Wisconsin in September.

“I can’t imagine any tournament without fans, first of all. In my career, we’ve done it one day at [the 2012 AT&T National]. Especially one that the home and away [fans] are such a big part of it,” said Davis Love III, one of Stricker’s vice captains and a two-time captain.

“Now, I agree with the sentiment that I’d rather play with no fans than not play at all. I don’t know if you can do that with the Ryder Cup, but I’d rather play Colonial and Hilton Head with no fans than not play at all, because so many people will watch it on TV.” [2]

Patrick Reed celebrates with fans during the Ryder Cup 2016 at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA on October 2016. PHOTO CREDIT: Tannen Maury / EPA

Ask yourself this: Without fans, who would Patrick Reed shush? Who would Rory antagonize, one hand framing his ear, after sinking a massive putt? Would a darling duo like Moli-wood become instantly legendary or be just a cute couple?

More than any other event, the spirit of the Ryder Cup is defined by the fans. It needs the fans, full stop. The Masters wouldn’t be quite as good without, um, patrons, and ditto for every other tournament on the planet, but they would still be meaningful and entertaining.

That’s just not true for the Ryder Cup. If the players gather at Whistling Straits in September, joined only by their families and a small gaggle of media and officials, it will be a pale imitation of the real thing. Better by far to delay, even by a year, than to stage the golf equivalent of a faint, flickering shadow. [3]

SOURCES FOR CURATION:

  1. Ryder Cup Without Fans Almost a ‘Yawner’, Says U.S. Captain Stricker (Reuters)
  2. Past Captains Jim Furyk and Davis Love III Have Trouble Imagining Ryder Cup Without Fans (Golf Channel)
  3. A Ryder Cup With No Fans is No Ryder Cup At All (Golf Digest)

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